Visual Arts Certificate for Teachers

NSCAD University’s Visual Arts Certificate for Teachers has been designed specifically for teachers interested in strengthening their knowledge of the history and theories of visual art and in honing their studio skills and knowledge of teaching methods. Approved by the Nova Scotia Department of Education, Maritime Provinces Higher Education Commission (MPHEC) and, NSCADs Academic Council, the Visual Arts Certificate for Teachers meets Nova Scotia’s provincial requirements for one level of Advanced Teacher Certification.

Art Specialist Teachers will upgrade their studio skills and pedagogical practices in the visual arts and further their knowledge of art historical and critical studies.

Non-Specialist teachers will gain some experience and understanding of art making, its application to the classroom, and the role of the visual arts in contemporary culture.
To reflect the breadth of visual arts subjects suitable for classroom teaching, the 30 credit Visual Arts Certificate for Teachers draws from a wide variety of courses at the undergraduate and graduate level.

General Certificate Requirements:
30 credits selected from the following three types of courses:

Liberal Arts (Foundation, Critical Studies, Art History and Film History)
Art Education
Studio Practice (Foundation and Studio)

Completion of the 30 credits shall normally be within three years but must be done within five years of the initial date of enrolment;
A "B" average or above. 

An art specialist teacher is defined as a graduate of both a recognized Bachelor of Fine Arts degree program or equivalent and of a recognized Bachelor of Education program with a first teachable in the visual arts. Applicants must have at least one full year of visual arts teaching experience within a public or approved private school setting.
Program Requirements for Art Specialists:
30 Credits including:

6 Credits Art History and Critical Studies (AHIS and CSTU) at 3000 level or above
18 Credits of Studio Practice (S) at the 2000 level or above
6 credits of Art Education: EDAR 5630: Guided Methods I (3 credits) and EDAR 5650: Guided Methods II (3 credits)

A Non-Specialist teacher is defined as a graduate of both a recognized Bachelor degree program (or equivalent) and of a recognized Bachelor of Education program. Applicants must have at least one full year of teaching experience within a public or approved private setting at the elementary or secondary level.
** Teachers with no formal art training are strongly encouraged to meet with the Chair of Foundation before registering in studio courses.
Program Requirements for Non-Art Specialists
30 Credits including:
(3) FNDN 1200: Introduction to Visual Culture
(6) Art History or Critical Studies credits at the 2000 level or above
(12) Studio credits including FNDN 1010: Introduction to Studio Practice

9 credits chosen from the following:
(3) FNDN 1100: Foundation Drawing I
(3) FNDN 1310: Foundation Photography
(3) FNDN 1330: Foundation Video
(3) FNDN 1335: Foundation Moving Image
(3) FNDN 1350: Foundation Computer
(3) FNDN 1430: Studio Practice: Modelled Forms
(3) FNDN 1455: Studio Practice: Print
(3) FNDN 1465: Studio Practice: Painting
(3) FNDN 1480: Foundation Workshop: [Topic]
(3) FNDN 1600: Foundation Drawing II

**For teachers with no formal art training, a non credit drawing course could be completed prior to enrolling in FNDN 110:Foundation Drawing 1

9 EDAR credits:
(3) EDAR 5110: Teaching the Visual Arts
(3) EDAR 5630: Guided Methods I
(3) EDAR 5650: Guided Methods II


** EDGAR 5630 requires the completion of one or more studio courses. Please see studio course descriptions in the Academic Calendar.
**EDGAR 5630: Guiding Methods 1, EDGAR 5650: Guiding Methods 2, and EDGAR TEaching the Visual Arts are normally taught in the Summer semester only.
**9 credit studio courses, independant studies, internships, and Wrold Travel courses are not available for credit towards the VAC for Teachers.
**Courses completed as part of previous Degrees are not eleigible for credit toward the VAC for Teachers.
**Course work completed at another University may be considered to waive prerequisite requirements.
**Up to 3 studio credits completed at NSCAD within the past 3 calendar years, which did not count towards a degree, may be eligible for credit toward the VAC for     Teachers.
**When a VAC candidate is accepted to a NSCAD University Degree program, prior to the completion of the VAC program, they must formally withdrawl from the VAC. Credits earned in the VAC may be considered for transfer to the Degree program.

Application procedures

Acceptance into the program presumes eligibility for the Initial Teachers Certificate with the Nova Scotia Department of Education or its equivalent and at least one year full-time teaching experience within a public or approved private school setting. Admission to the certificate program is based on the review of the application materials:

Following program completion, students will submit a letter of application for a change in teacher certification classification to the Registrar, Teacher Certification, and Nova Scotia Department of Education. A supporting official transcript confirming completion of all courses, proof of the certificate award and required fee must accompany the letter of application. The Nova Scotia Department of Education does not permit double-counting courses to fulfill requirements of an upgrading program. Any course work credited toward other Post-secondary programs may not be used to meet the requirements of the Visual Arts Certificate for Teachers.



MY.NSCAD.CA is your guide through the application process. It’s where we’ll answer all of your questions and help you prepare to apply and upload your portfolio pieces. You can sign up for a campus visit/event, track your application process and even receive your admission decision.


By answering a series of quick questions, you can begin your online application and provide us with all the details we’ll neet to review your application.


Write a brief one-page essay that articulates your program focus and how the visual arts will enhance your teaching practice..


An academic record of current and previous study is required from all applicants. All transcripts must be official and received directly by mail from the issuing institution. At least one of these transcripts must show that the applicant completed an undergraduate degree.


Arrange for the Department of Education to mail proof of approval from Teacher Certification for Application for Approval - Upgrading Program. The application form is available at


Upload a copy of proof of the Nova Scotia Department of Education Initial Teachers Certificate or its equivalent (Note to out-of-province applicants: Applicants are responsible for ascertaining the acceptance of this certificate in their province.)


A letter of recommendation must be sent directly from the principal of a school where you have taught.


Upload your resume/CV of teaching experiences including years and subject areas taught.


A non-refundable application fee of $90 is required. Pay online at


Completed applications are dated and reviewed in chronological order by the Certificate Admissions Committee. The Certificate Admissions Committee is the sole judge of decisions regarding admission to the certificate program.

Applications are accepted for this program on an ongoing basis. The program can start in the Fall, Winter, or Summer semesters. Please apply no later than one month before the start of the semester in which you wish to commence the program.


Course Registration

Registration for credit courses follows the procedures established by the NSCAD Registrar’s Office. Course registration is conditional upon meeting course pre-requisites and dependent upon course availability. Course fees and payment schedule are published each semester on NSCAD’s website. To register for a credit course, complete the course selection form.